Even as the distribution of swine flu vaccine is ongoing across America, the number of deaths among young people due to swine flu continues to rise. This will probably give parents more reason to have their children as well as themselves vaccinated, or lead some of those who have initially elected to forego vaccination to have a change of heart.
The spike in the number of deaths has caused alarm since the rate is unusual, even for the flu season. In the past week alone, 19 deaths among children and teenagers were reported; this is said to be the highest pediatric death rate in a single week since the start of the swine flu pandemic last spring. Last week’s count has increased the total number of deaths of those under the age of 18 to 76 for this year, a high number compared to the 46 to 88 deaths due to seasonal flu per year among children over the past four years.
In total, more than 3,800 Americans have succumbed to complications associated with the flu, more often the H1N1 virus. This count includes at least 28 pregnant women.
While the government has already purchased 250 million doses of swine flu vaccine for distribution across the country, it is reportedly ready to purchase even more doses should more people choose to have themselves and their families vaccinated. According to recent surveys, only 40% of Americans intend to get the vaccine; vaccination is completely voluntary for most people.
While the illness brought about by the virus is essentially considered as mild, with some people recovering from it without the benefit of medication, there are those who can get seriously ill when struck with the virus. And the absence of pre-existing conditions such as asthma does not necessarily ensure a speedy recovery; some of the children who have died from swine flu reportedly used to be healthy prior to coming down with the flu.